When it comes to influential San Francisco bands from the first wave of punk mania that washed across the land in the mid 1970s, you've undoubtedly heard of The Nuns, whether on flyers from the era, or from their blistering moment on the sacred Killed By Death Volume 1 with their unforgettable punk hit "Decadent Jew." Yet another victim of the major label-disconnected west coast punk scene, back when that connection could really be a helpful boost a la The Ramones, Television and the rest of the Sire Records family, The Nuns debut 7" EP came out in the prime time of 1978 along with excellent singles The Beat / Media Control and World War III / Cock In My Pocket in 1979 and '80 respectively, but that benchmark of a debut LP unfortunately came just a little too late. Once mainly known just as the first band Alejandro Escovedo participated in (the older brother of Javier Escovedo of The Zeros), The Nuns were simply ravaging at their peak, especially in a live setting, so it's important to NOT associate them with any sort of "alt-country" and to take the band as a whole.
Along with Crime, La Rue, and Mary Monday & the Bitches, The Nuns were one of the first Bay-area bands to perform their gut-wrenching punk anthems to a live audience on the West Coast in 1976, despite the lack of venues for this new form of abrasive music, until the official opening of Mabuhay Gardens in late '76, where they finally settled into their rightful place. The Nuns didn't really reflect the image of any sort of "typical" punk bands of the era, and of course this would be during the embryonic stage of west coast punk culture, when the pillars of the movement had a wide open field in front of them, and hadn't succumbed to the uniformity which would turn so many away in the following years. For instance, can you name ANY other punk band with THREE lead singers? Jennifer Miro, Jeff Olener, and Richie Detrick all shared vocal duties, providing an intense contrast from song to song, from the quaalude-soaked, drawn-out dreamy indifference in the Miro-fronted "Lazy" to the almost Sam & Dave-style dual punk frontman assault with Jeff & Richie tearing it up for all to see, The Nuns were in a world of their own.
When Crime dropped off the San Francisco Sex Pistols show, Bill Graham was quick to enlist The Nuns in their place along with The Avengers (and a duped Negative Trend), but nonetheless their cool, collected and often savage stage intensity has to be seen to be believed, and here is the high-quality video you've been waiting for.
Check out a FULL live set from The Nuns at Winterland in SF, July 30th, 1977 right HERE, which at press time only has 30 views so far, so kick this one full-screen and dig in!: